TideLog Author Archive

CAUTION: NOT suitable for reading by minors, contains mild sexual content.

Polyamory won’t always fix your problems or save your relationship, but it may help you grow.

I have had comments about my polyamorous lifestyle, some great, some not so great, so I thought I’d write an article explaining the different aspects of it. To explain it I’ve had to go into quite some detail, so if sexual content offends you, stop reading. I have been with my girlfriend, Kanako, for thirteen years. And our girlfriend, Mika, has been with us for nine and a half. Before I found myself in one, I actually resisted the idea of a polyamorous relationship—I made fun of my friends who were in “triads.” I thought the whole concept was ridiculous. But when we met Mika, my perspective shifted. Let me give you some insight into how my poly relationship blossomed.

How it all started

Kana and I met in Malaysia in 2002. I had gone to Japanese Touring Car race with a Malaysian friend, Allan Phang, at Sepang Raceway. She was working as a racequeen (pit girl), and as Allan had a pass, she invited us down. I was mesmerized by her sweet smile, warm brown eyes and equally warm golden skin. She took to me immediately, we got chatting and it went from there. She finished her racequeen tour, and came back to the UK a month later. In 2004 tragedy struck for us, and following the stillbirth of our daughter (I can’t go into detail, it’s too upsetting and personal), and then the death of Kana’s best friend Ryoko in 2005, both within a year of each other, we were both in a really bad place, and it all took a worse toll on Kana, who sunk really deeply into depression, crying herself to sleep during the day, locking herself away in our bedroom. I was scared to death that she would commit suicide, all alone in our room. So, I camped outside the room, and gave her time and space, talking to her gently. She must have felt so alone, even though I’d been there for her in the hospital, and during the hard time after Ry’s death, just being her shoulder to cry on, holding her tightly, kissing her gently, to let her know I was there with her, forever, no matter what.

Kana had made who I thought was just a good friend in Japan, who’d come over to offer assistance and friendship during our hard time. Her name was Mika, and she is the cutest girl you could ever ask for as a girlfriend. Big brown eyes, sweet petite 5ft stature, cheeky smile, in fact I actually thought she looked a lot like Kana when she smiled. Needless to say I saw how Mika made Kana smile, all three of us had a great rapport together, Kana & Mika were so cute, like innocent Japanese girls, laughing and joking. Kana even started referring to Mika as her “little Mika-chu!!”, she loves Pokemon and Mika’s name is very similar to Pikachu! I thought it was all so cute, and I really started warming to Mikachu! The way Kana came back out of her shell again was amazing. She had always been mentally strong, but even I thought there was no going back after she hit a proverbial iceberg and nearly sunk.

The night things changed

Anyhow, one night we were all in a club together, we’d had a few drinks. I noticed how Kana and Mika were being even more girly together, holding hands, embracing each other round the waist, that kind of thing. I’d gone to the toilet, come out, and caught Mika and Kana snogging each other’s faces off. They hadn’t seen me. I was both turned on, and horrified. Everything slowed right down, in fact it stopped, just they themselves carried on.

Part of me thought, “Shit, she’s fallen for a woman, after all we’ve been through! The hot lovemaking, giggles, warm cuddles, as well as the tears and fights! What the f*ck?”

And the other part of me was thinking, “Awwww, they’re snogging, wahey, aren’t they so CUUTEE!”

I was frozen to the spot, and then they SAW ME WATCHING THEM! The look of horror on Kana’s face was saddening, Mika turned away, then rushed out of the club. I was heartbroken. I felt like everything was over. I gently and calmly walked out of the club, and went back to our house, completely stunned, as you are. As it turned out, I had COMPLETELY misjudged Kana’s loyalty, and had jumped to conclusions in my head. She came back home about three hours later, with Mika in tow. Mikachu came to me and threw her arms around me. “I’m sorry, JayJay (my pet name from her which she still uses!), we need to talk to you.”. “This is it”, I thought, “this is the moment I lose my Japanese goddess”.

Kana and Mika sat down, and in a nutshell, Kana calmly but tearfully explained that she had been exploring bi-sexuality for quite a few years (I suspected her and Ryoko were closer than close before Ry died), and she had found Mika during her depression, when she went back to Japan for a few weeks to be with her real parents. She explained that she was not in love with one or the other of us, but both of us. “I love you both so much, I want you both to be with me forever!”, she choked, crying softly. Mika started crying gently then, they both cuddled sweetly, and I think I had tears in my eyes, or was it a waterfall? I don’t remember.

Awwwwww. My heart literally melted right there and then. My assumptions were wrong. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am a big softie where cute warm women, and animals are concerned. That to me, was what I lived for. Loyalty. I knew all along Kana would never betray me, the fact that she was so loyal she wanted both of us spoke volumes about her. We’d only been together since 2003 (it was then 2006), I absolutely adored the sweet little lady with cheeky playful smile, golden skin, warm sparkly brown eyes, lovely slender legs (that looked great in shorts and a pair of knee high boots!) and now I had her beautiful friend in our life!

Adjusting to poly life

As Mika entered our life, Kana and I tried to control the situation as best we could. We kept everything in our little triage, openly discussing fears, worries, loves and likes together, always involving Mika. She never felt like an intruder, as I had got to know her a lot, and actually did feel sexually and emotionally attracted to her. Equality is essential to making relationships work. If I kissed Kana, I kissed Mika. If I bought Kana 25 roses, I bought Mika 25 as well. During lovemaking it had to be the same as well, all three of us making each other happy, with no-one left out. If we were really going to do this new thing with Mika, Kana and I would have to change how our own relationship operated, it wasn’t just me and her anymore. But we had no role models to teach us how to do this thing—so Kana and I joined a Polyamory group with Mika, meeting other poly people in their relationships, whether they were guys with guys, girls with girls, or girl-girl-guy, or even more than three participants, to talk about how they did things, we even explored sexual adventures with some of the geekier ones, involving roleplay, that kind of thing.

People reach out to me all the time with questions about jealousy and insecurity: How do you avoid becoming jealous if your partner is sleeping with other men/women? I’ve found that if I ever feel jealousy, the root of that emotion almost always comes from not feeling good enough for Mika or Kana. Jealousy always equals insecurity for me. It’s feeling that you’re not good enough for something, so you become jealous of those that are. It’s like when you see a hot girl/guy in the street, and you mentally tell yourself he/she is out of your league. That is insecurity in yourself.

Jealousy is perfectly normal and human, like making mistakes—it happens all the time, no matter what kind of relationship you’re in. It’s part of being human. But at the end of the day, it’s how we react to that jealousy that matters. I constantly have to remind myself to shift the focus of my thoughts back to me: What am I really afraid of? Why do I not believe I am deserving of all this love? Falling in love with Mika—and watching Kana fall in love with Mika—taught me that there is more love out there in this world than I had ever imagined. But we struggled in the process. Three-way lovemaking is hot; three-way fighting is a nightmare.

Fights can be vicious and scary

Once, I received an email from a reader who had started dating a new guy with her girl partner. The three of them had their first fight, and she felt like her partner and their boyfriend were ganging up on her—had I or one of my partners ever experienced that? Sure we had. In a relationship between three people, it is almost impossible for someone not to feel like the odd (wo)man out.

I remember a fight Mika, Kana, and I had. Kana is a photographer as well as a Martial Arts & fitness instructor. We run a superheroine photo website as part of her photography venture, and we had just shot a new photoshoot for our superheroine site, one of Kana’s female Martial Arts instructors, Kate, had volunteered to wear my personal Superman costume, and during the photoshoot I could see that Kate’s tight rippled physique under my skintight costume she was wearing was driving Kana mad, as well as me (a woman wearing a man’s superhero outfit is hot to me!). I got Mika to wear my costume during a lovemaking session, whilst Kana made love to her pretending she was Kate. Mika loved the role as a sexy caped superhero, but it wasn’t enough for Kana and she took it a step too far. She invited Kate round to our house, gave her my Superman costume, complete with cape and boots, jumped into her own Supergirl outfit, and literally flapped her cape at Kate and then made hot love to her in a superhero roleplay peril-sex session, while me and Mika were away. She sent me pictures via email and had a blast thinking she’d get away with it.

Until Mika walked in from work early and caught them at it, that is. Kate still had my costume on, quite literally got caught with her trunks down, in a compromising doggy position with Kana, and flew out the door in a blur so fast I actually thought she was SuperKate! Mika had come home early to pack as she was about to go away for six months to work on a Japanese TV show, and we were spending a last few days together, just the three of us. I came home about three minutes after Mika, to see Kate flying out the door still in my full superhero costume (almost literally, her cape was flapping so furiously, she ran out so quick!), hearing Mika screaming her head off at Kana that she was an unfaithful bitch (mostly in Japanese, some in English!), and why hadn’t she asked first? Kana was still stood there in her Supergirl costume like a rabbit in headlights, a large strapon sticking out under her skirt! I had never seen sweet Mika-chu so angry before!

I was personally turned on at the thought of Kana and Kate in a superheroine tryst, but Mika was furious, it made her feel jealous, insecure, unloved and afraid that Kate and Kana were falling more in love with each other than with her, and I was angry that the loyalty Kana had showed the three of us at the start seemed to be fading. Familiarity breeds contempt almost seemed true. I was the one who begged Mika not to leave, but she went anyway, saying she needed time and space, after snogging my face off to let me know it wasn’t me she was angry at. Kana and me argued, me furious that she hadn’t involved her and had gone behind Mika’s back. I had assumed Kana had asked her.

Moral of the story, NEVER assume anything, it can break any relationship up, especially a super-fragile poly one.

Eventually Mika did come back once her 6 month presenter contract was up, but it wasn’t a good 6 months for Kana and me, not knowing if our cute Mikachu would ever forgive Kana and come home to us. Things weren’t great for about two months after that. I had to sleep alone, as if I slept with Kana or Mika (who themselves slept apart) it would have caused anger and jealousy. I missed seeing them all snuggled up like cute kittens together!

Combating jealousy and insecurity, and accepting boundaries

You can overcome insecurities, and make the relationship stronger. We managed to get Mika to accept other people in the relationship, first by introducing girl-girl porn into our lovemaking, and then as recent as two years ago we stepped it up by visiting a swinger’s club, where she watched Kana and I make love to another woman, where she became very aroused and masturbated to a massive orgasm. To prove my security to myself, I even shared Kana with another man, which was something I had never done before. I discovered that male-female-male spit-roasting was actually quite hot, and the massive extent of Kana’s stamina! She wasn’t just a cutie with a rippled physique, she had the power to back it up!

Obviously there are some things that are just completely out of bounds, things that are an absolute no-no. For example, Kana has a fantasy of seeing me have full sex with another guy. I am not even bi-curious, only fully straight, so that will never happen. I kissed a really handsome guy for her in a drunken sex game at the swinger club, and didn’t enjoy it, I still regret it, even though Kana still uses the mental image during sex and can orgasm over it. One thing that works for one person, doesn’t always for another. You all have to accept that and try finding other stuff that turns you on that all partners enjoy. In our case it turned out to be sexual role-play mud wrestling, it was a fantasy of mine, the girls tried it, and now it’s a regular thing, amongst others!

How to manage coming out to friends and family

People often ask me how we handled “coming out” as a polyamorous couple to our family and friends. There’s no easy answer for that, and my parents still don’t know the full story. Kana and I introduced Mika to our family and friends at our 6th year relationship anniversary, where Kana also came out of the closet about her bi-sexuality. It seemed, at the time, to be a good idea—everyone would be in one place at the same time, and we wanted Mika there, to be part of that experience with us. Looking back, I can only imagine how hard that was for Mika, and for those closest to Kana and me. And today, my advice is to use caution and not open yourself up too quickly to the scrutiny and judgement of those who love you.

While they may seem normal when you’re part of them, polyamorous relationships are far outside the norm, and it’s hard to expect everyone to just accept what we know: that love is vast, and that there are many ways to experience and express it. Polyamory scares people. For some, it challenges everything they believe to be true about love. Isn’t that what we’re fighting so hard for—the right to live how we choose? To not have my love and sexual desires dictated by some arbitrary social structure? Why should anybody tell me how and who to love?

Then, there is the ultimate question: With all the complications and struggles, why do it? I don’t have a simple answer. I have been called greedy and selfish, I don’t think I am those things. Maybe this is just part of my nature. As far as I’m concerned those men that cheat on girlfriends with other women behind their backs are the heartless, greedy selfish bastards. I’m not cheating or hurting anyone, as all three of us love, care and nurture each other. Again, the ones that call me selfish are the insecure, jealous ones, because they can’t have what they don’t understand. The last guy on social media to call me selfish turned out to be a lying cheating, adulterous scumbag hypocrite!

I don’t believe this kind of relationship is for everyone, and I don’t think that polyamory is better than monogamy, or vice versa. I just think we find what works best for us. And I am happier this way. I am happier with Kana and Mika, and I am happier that we are in an open relationship, and I get to meet and spend time with other women, although I keep it platonic. I am happier knowing that Mika and Kana get to explore and play and fall in love, too.

Being poly will not save your relationship. It won’t always solve any of your problems. Everything that scares you about it might come true. But it will also open doors inside you that you never knew existed—and it may even bring an opportunity to grow and change. And that opportunity is what I love Kana and Mika for the most.

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Today was another tinker day for me, and this time another YouView box from Humax. The T2100 replaced the ageing T1000 which was beset with issues, notably power supply issues with bad capacitors, as well as HDMI handshake problems, and just general reliability and use issues, such as recording failures (attributed to PSU issues, capacitors in the HDD 12v feed rail going dry or high ESR), freezing, and refusal to power on.

Most of the problems were down to the built in PSU which was fully onboard. The latest boxes, the T2100, T2110 and the newer 4K T4000 boxes are much smaller, and now use an external PSU brick, as well as smaller 2.5″ SATA HDD from a laptop, allowing Humax to shrink it massively. I have actually repaired a few in the past, mainly HDD failures due to 24/7 use and the Bathtub curve of HDD reliability being so unpredictable, but it’s the first time on TideLog for me to show you the wonderful neat innards, and much improved electronic design!

The only thing that’s needed is a Philips screwdriver. 4 screws on the bottom (self tappers into plastic, eurgh!) one of them under a warranty sticker (those things are just BEGGING to be peeled off!), remove the machine screw above the SCART socket, and off pops the cover!

I love the inside of these, I just love a neat circuit board, they’re a beautiful work of art in their own right. So, bottom left, the hard drive, which is a standard 2.5″ 500GB AV grade HDD, mine has a Western Digital AV-25 WD50000LUCT, which are designed for CCTV and PVR use, so are fine for 24/7 use. 4 screws underneath it hold it into place, the motherboard has to come out to remove it as it is actually screwed into the mainboard, not the chassis. One nice thing is that Humax have used rubber bumpers with the screws to shield it from knocks (not dropping it down stairs, as some of my repaired ones have been!) and also so that the screws are not in direct contact with the PCB.

To the bottom left of the HDD sits one of the box’s two USB ports, with the other being on the rear under the Ethernet port. To the right of the hard drive is what I assume to be the 12v regulator choke for the HDD, digitally controlled. To the right of that are the 4x1GB Samsung RAM chips, making a total of 4GB, which gives the box its stability power during marathon record 2-programmes-watch-another stints, to save it constantly caching everything to the HDD when rewinding, pausing or fast forwarding live TV, which, when recording two programmes and watching one would cause buffer issues, recordings would be glitched and the HDD under massive load.

Above the RAM is the CPU (possibly an ARM 2 or 4 core, I’ve never looked under the heatsink in one), under the big finned heatsink, which unlike the T1000, does not have a noisy fan cooling it down, it is fully passive, where the heat from it rises naturally out the top vents on the top cover. To the right of the RAM is the digitally controlled, beautifully intricate (shucks, I’m a true nerd!) 3 phase power regulation system. This splits up and regulates the 12v from the external brick, into all the voltages required by the components, and the CPU, which requires an ultra stable, clean and spike free supply. The HDD 12v regulator is fed from this system too.

The Broadcom Ethernet & dual-tuner control chips are to the top of these. This area also contains the white harness connector for the top cover switch block wiring which you can just see in the top of the image above. The switch block in the top cover is nothing special, just a PCB with switches soldered on 😉

There are still a few of the dodgy SamYoung (which brand does that sound like?) Chinese electrolytic capacitors in these units as there were with the old T1000 series. Luckily in the new T21xx series there are only 3 (the T1000 had 10), the rest are solid state, the ones in my unit are fine but we’ll have to see how long it is before they get binned for Japanese RubyCon YXF ones! There are two in the voltage regulation section, and one in the top left of the box below the DC IN switch/plug socket block that will likely be the first electrical repair I do 🙂

There’s not much info on the chips in these, I couldn’t make out the model numbers and a schematic is not in the wild. A future update to this article will be a teardown of the external brick, me using my magnifier (when I find it) to identify the chips and CPU, and exactly where that HDD regulator goes, if it is even for the HDD…

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Recently, using ReactOS Build Environment, I started to get weird errors when trying to update my ROS source. It would say weird things like, “RosBE is outdated. Installed version: 2.1.3 Recent version: .” and also upon running the ssvn update command, I’d get, “The selected branch does not exist or the Internet Connection is down.

It appears that the servers moved to HTTPS, and there’s a bug in the batch files that control the wget commands. Kana suggested to change all the wget command lines in the sSVN.cmd file, adding “–no-check-certificate” to the ends, this fixes the problem!

 

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After a slightly longer hiatus than normal due to mine & Kana’s work lives getting busier, the superheroine site also took a break. Today though we had a bit of messy roleplay fun together! Kana decided to transform into Kana Zor-El for me, swooping around the house, she does it a lot as she knows I really like her as my own personal superheroine, with her fitness and sexy physique, the Supergirl costume makes the fantasy even more real, especially when she shows off her Martial Arts skills, as a sexy caped-and-booted superheroine it’s much more erotic to me. Except today, Ms Zor-El was in she-devil mode, and didn’t want to allow me to touch her, as she knows she really turns me on in costume, you know what that leads to 😉 She kept swooping away from me every time I tried embracing her, the cheeky minx! I could never catch her!

I didn’t drive all those miles the early hours of this morning, to see my sexy superheroine, only to have her rebel against me! So, I decided to be Kana Zor-El’s enemy, instead of her Superman, and concocted a rather messy trap plan with Mika. I told her that Mika needed her in the spa room, once we trapped her, Mika embraced her, got her down on the floor, kissed her a few times, and then suddenly began covering her in KryptoGunge! SuperKana soon weakened up, and couldn’t swoop off, lying there writhing on the floor in (pretend) agony, covered in debilitating green goo!

Look at her trying to resist it! Her costume and cape’s all gooey so she ain’t getting away! Mwahahaha! I finally got SuperKana in front of the camera, begging us not to humiliate her! She’s so cute when in gooey Krypto-peril! She’s a really good actress and played the part well 🙂

She’d hidden my Superman costume, too, so this was perfect payback to get her to tell me where she’d hidden it (I couldn’t rescue her until I was in it!), and I could be her enemy until she did! It reminded me of the scene from the 1984 Supergirl film where Helen Slater falls into the pit of KryptoGunge after being lured to that unknown planet, and gets weaker and weaker trying to escape. It was the best part! I’m tempted to fill our outdoor pond and have SuperKana re-enact that in our tasty green goo! To stick to the family friendly nature of TideLog, let’s just say what happened next was very messy, naughty and energetic (I “rescued” her but she had to love-wrestle me first!), but the WAM fans in us loved it! That is what roleplay love is all about!

Don’t worry, our KryptoGunge doesn’t ruin the sexy costumes, it’s actually edible, but I’m not giving the recipe! It isn’t washing up liquid, that foams up too quick even without contact with water. It was all good pretend messy tasty fun. No superheroes, superheroines or their costumes were hurt 🙂

Kana’s back on the seasonal Martial Arts school shifts this month until August, to keep her superhuman strength in check 🙂 We’re working on some new content too, and not all clean as it has been previously 🙂

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Since Mika and me bought Kana her new jet-ski (who Kana has christened Jenny the Jetski), we’ve run it twice. Once when Mika and me got it from the dealer in Wales, and then again on Xmas Day when Kana lovingly, expertly and excitedly rode us round the lake in the meadow near us in the Midlands. This week, because we’ve had some nice weather in the UK, we took Jenny The Jetski out to Brighton beach, donned our wetsuits, and had wet wild fun!

On the second day the ski just suddenly went limp to a cruise speed. I thought Kana had lost her nerve, and urged her to open the throttle more:

Me: “C’mon K, faster, faster! Open Jen up a bit more! Mika’s loving it back here!”

Kana: “Throttle’s wide open! She’s gone limp! I think she’s scared of water, she’s a newbie!”

After some juddering and hiccuping she stalled completely and wouldn’t start again. The symptoms pointed to either misfueling, or seawater had entered the engine somewhere. Kana has never accidentally misfueled a vehicle, ever, and she confirmed she hadn’t, as we keep the jet-ski octane fuel in special containers, they don’t run on diesel or petrol, only octane based fuel.

I confirmed no leaks had occurred, and on the second restart attempt, fault code P0606 appeared in the infodisplay, which according to the SeaDoo fault diagnosis manual relates to engine ECU failure. At just over a total of 8 hours old, Kana’s new jetski is a paperweight, and cut our watersports trip to Brighton & Hove short and we had to come back to Birmingham. It’s a good job we have a dealer warranty, the ECU’s alone are over half a grand, and that’s un-programmed!

I suspect the dealer has misdiagnosed (or completely missed, if it was intermittent) the fault when the original owner returned it, and it’s come back for us! They’re coming out to us on Wednesday, thankfully 🙂

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I had the misfortune of my tablet getting damaged this week. I was working in Rikku’s bus garage, with it resting on the bus’s bumper crossmember taking readings from the ECU, when Rik called me away. While I was away the vibration of the engine caused my tablet to fall off, straight onto tarmac! Luckily the screen hasn’t cracked.

I’ll show you all how to replace the digitizer, as it’s a lot more straightforward than also having to replace the screen, as less disassembly is required.

A. Removing the SD card cover/Wi-Fi antenna

First of all, your digitizer is GLASS, so you can use sellotape across the glass to hold it in place, preventing any injury, or shards of glass falling on the floor. Removing the damaged digitizer will stress it and maybe cause more damage as you do it. The glass provides 90% of the front frame’s strength, so once broken it loses most of its rigidity.

Once you’ve secured the glass, turn your tablet over, and remove the SD cover, which also doubles as a WiFi antenna, by locating the notch on the left, and lifting up. It unsnaps quite loudly, but be gentle. Once removed, place in a safe place:

2-removing-SD-cover

B. Removing the rear casing

Next up we’ll be removing the rear case, which is easy to do as there’s no screws, it’s all clipped together. A lot of the reviewers of the Bush MyTablet reckoned the aluminium back was just cosmetic, but it is actually structural, and gives the tablet weight and strength to prevent flexing of the whole body to protect the internals,.

Using a flat blade jeweller’s screwdriver, unsnap one set of clips between the front digitizer frame and the rear case, and then use a plastic spudger to do the rest. DON’T use a screwdriver permanently, only to get a start. Note in my picture below, the lip of plastic on my rear case near the headphone port was damaged on mine in the impact, so I used this as an easy access point for my spudger:

3-unclipping-digitizer-from-rear-cover-1

Continue all the way round the case, and don’t worry about snapping noises. The screen is clipped to the backside of the digitizer, but as long as you are gentle, it won’t resist too much, and you shouldn’t break anything. The glass may crack and crunch on the broken digitizer at this point, due to the lost strength I mentioned earlier. I didn’t use tape on my glass as I was on a disposable cloth I could just throw away:

4-unclipping-digitizer-from-rear-cover-2

Once you’ve unsnapped all the clips, the rear case will just lift off. There’s nothing attached to it, so just lift it clear, upon doing so you’ll see the wonderous internals of the tablet, including the relatively large battery, and small mainboard. You can also see how the aluminium back actually constitutes most of the rear cover, with the plastic just being a small frame, proving my point about the strength the metal back provides:

5-lifting-off-rear-cover

When you remove the back cover, WATCH out for the power and volume button pack dropping out. It isn’t plastic welded or screwed onto anything, so it’ll just fall free:

6-watch-out-for-volume-and-power-buttons-falling-out

C. Screw and connector locations

Now comes the preparation stage of locating the connectors and screws you’ll need to remove. If you’re just removing the digitizer, there’s 2 screws and 2 ribbons to remove, but if your screen is broken most of the internals have to come apart as the mainboard and battery are mounted to the back of the screen panel’s chassis with tape and glue, both of which are surprisingly strong!

7-screw-and-connector-locations

The ribbon cable connectors for the digitizer and display are under the tape on the left and right sides, respectively, which I’ve labelled in red, the two red circled screws attach the PCB to the digitizer frame. The battery and speaker cables are under the orange tape on the bottom left. These two are soldered in, but don’t need to be de-soldered at all unless you are explicitly replacing them. Even for a screen replacement, desoldering these isn’t necessary, they can just be lifted out the way. To remove the battery for screen replacement, simply break the glue holding it in, and lift it out of the way after the rest of the disassembly is done, leaving the wires soldered in. Don’t do it yet, you’ll end up with a tangle!

The connector flaps for the ribbons need to be flicked upwards NO MORE than 90 degrees VERY gently. If you snap the flap, the whole PCB socket is ruined as the flap provides the torque to hold the ribbon in place, pressing the metal contacts together. Taping it back together is not good enough. DO NOT rush, the same goes for the left one. This is where unskilled amateurs make the jobs more expensive, take it from a professional who has fixed mistakes many times! Modern electronics are VERY delicate, and need eagle eyesight and jeweller’s finesse, shaky hands just won’t do!

From the left, lift the silver tape a little (DON’T damage or discard it as it can be re-used), and remove the ribbon for the power/volume buttons. Lift the flap gently, then ease the cable out.

10-power-and-volume-switch-ribbon-connector-location

From the right, lift the black tape. If you’re going to be replacing ONLY the digitizer, remove just the top ribbon that I’ve circled red, which is the digitizer cable, using the same care as for the power/volume ribbon above. If your screen is cracked, you’ll need to remove the bottom one as well, which is your display cable that carries display signals, and the backlight power.

Again, I can’t stress enough, DO NOT rush, and DO NOT force the socket connector flaps over 90 degrees, if they break you’ve just made the job 80% more expensive as you’ll need the sockets replacing, or a new PCB, which will involve data recovery off your old board, especially if you damage the touchscreen connector!

11-digitizer-ribbon-connector-location

D. Removing bottom frame support

Where the speaker is along the bottom you’ll notice a plastic frame screwed into place. This is like a strengthener and support in one unit, it holds the speaker in place while giving the bottom of the digitizer some strength. It also carries clips that the rear cover was mounted to, so I consider it a main structural member of the whole tablet chassis. Simply remove the two screws, and lift it off the digitizer. Watch out as the speaker is now loose on its cable and will slide around!

8-screws for-frame-support

E. Removing screen & mainboard assembly from digitizer

If you look all around the inside of the frame you’ll see lots of clips holding the screen in place. We’re now going to remove the screen VERY GENTLY. This is another step that you should take your time, there’s no medal for rushing it, as you WILL likely break your screen if you do it wrong, the glass on the screen is thinner than the digitizer. That’s the reason tablets have their digitizer separate to the screen, mounted half an inch away.

If your screen and digitizer are already broken and you’re replacing them both, I personally would still be careful, because I’m a professional, and normally it’s someone else’s equipment, which I respect 🙂

9-clips-attaching-screen-to-digitizer-frame

So, while unclipping the clips (they may be stiff) you can use a spudger to keep the screen from re-clipping itself in, but DON’T overdo it, don’t lever the screen too high with too many clips still securing it, it will flex and break. Obviously if your screen is broken and you’re replacing it this isn’t relevant, but still take care, because I would 🙂

The image below shows me using my spudger as the clips are unclipped, my screen wasn’t damaged before, and it wasn’t damaged after, apart from a scratch on the glass caused by the digitizer imploding on impact!

12-unclipping-screen-clips-while-lifting-screen-GENTLY

Finally, once that’s all done, you can separate the digitizer from the rest of the chassis, and pat yourself on the back for getting this far without any major damage, unless you DID damage something I told you not to, in that case it’s your fault for not listening to a pro, take yourself off to the naughty corner and think about what you’ve done!

Otherwise, if all went well, you’ll end up with the tablet looking like this:

13-chassis-and-digitizer-separated

Re-assembly with a new digitizer is the reverse of removal, if you remember my advice you should have a fully functioning tablet that acts as if nothing happened once it is rebuilt!

F. Extra steps for screen replacement

I only had to replace my digitizer, but if your screen is damaged as well, once you finish with the separated digitizer as step E, you’ll need to:

  1. Remove the display cable connector as I mentioned earlier
  2. Separate the battery from the screen back by removing the glue. When you reassemble the battery onto the new screen, use *new* adhesive strips instead of glue to secure it, as you don’t want it rattling around, its metallic case can short stuff out, which you DEFINITELY don’t want happening.
  3. Remove all the tape strips holding the PCB,
  4. If you’re also replacing the battery, desolder the battery cables, making sure you note the polarity. Resoldering the cables the wrong way may short the board out, and cause an expensive mess. I don’t know if the Chinese electronics in these have decent short-circuit protection, and I’m not willing to find out!
  5. Re-assembly, again, is the reverse of removal. With new parts, TAKE EXTREME CARE, you don’t want your new screen or digitizer damaged again! And make sure all the tape is replaced and secured in the original places. Mark out where the strips sit with a marker pen.

Good luck!

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The other day I was working at Rikku’s garage doing routine maintenance on one of her coaches, when her 15 yo daughter Jill rang me on her mobile to tell me the coach of the third party coach company her school hired had broken down:

Jill: Dad, I’m on my way to a rugby match with my school girls team, the coach has broken down on the motorway and the driver’s radio and phone aren’t working!

Me: Don’t worry sweetheart, put me on to the driver, I’ll have a chat with him. In the meantime, get the girls off the bus, and as far up the hard shoulder embankment as you can, away from the coach and traffic.

Talking to the driver, I told him I’d lend a hand and get one of our coaches to him, and tow his broken down one to our garage until the match finished, when I’d then arrange to take it, and him, back to his company’s yard. I got put back on to Jill and explained I’d use one of her mum’s coaches to help out. This is where things went wrong! We have a daily allocation list of vehicles that are in use for runs that day, and also any vehicles in for service. Our Mercedes Tourismo coach WASN’T on the list, so I got Rikky’s Recovery guys, their truck, and a driver for the replacement coach.

Anyhow, I got the team transferred on to our coach, and on route to Jill’s team match with one of our drivers, while me and the Recovery guys brought the other coach, and driver, back to our yard. Rikku was away on a transport meeting trying to secure a new contract. The other transport company’s coach had suffered differential failure, locking the drive axle. Me and the other driver bantered, sharing breakdown stories, until the Matsuki coach brought the girls’ team back, with Jill, who came running over to me, as her team surrounded us:

Jill: Thankyou SO much, SuperDad! You dropped everything for us, you’re my hero!

Me: Ah, hunny, what are Dads for?

Our coach took the girls back to school, and the Recovery guys took the other coach and driver back to his own yard. While they were all away, next thing I know, Rikku appears out of nowhere, fuming at me that the Tourismo was nowhere to be seen:

Rikku: Where’s the Tourismo?

Me: I rescued your daughter and her rugby team from a breakdown on the M62 using it, they’re on their way back to school with a driver. The Tourismo isn’t on the daily allocation list!

Rikku: I NEED it for a job in 30 minutes! If it isn’t on the list you still don’t just take it, you’re supposed to contact Operations! Just because you’re fleet service manager doesn’t stop that rule!

Me: Well I’m sorry for dropping everything for your daughter, doesn’t she come first? I think the job’s getting to you!

Rikku: Don’t start THIS again!

She ended up storming off, we exchanged words, me telling her to stop acting like a spoilt brat when her daughter was in need. She later apologized but it was so out of character it worried me, as we’re both like SuperMum and SuperDad where Jill’s concerned, Jill and Rikku are like best friends, doting on each other. I love them both so much, but these diva-like outbursts from Rikku are getting worrying, as she’s normally super-strong in terms of willpower!

She’s Operations Manager at Matsuki, she owns the whole business but is taking on too many roles at once, as she has to run the entire operation, dishing out daily roles to the different departments (Fleet, Admin and Customer Liason and Traffic Management), as well as allocating passengers to vehicles, allocating routes etc. We need two more managers!

I wouldn’t be surrogate Dad to anyone else, Jill is really grown up for 15, like her Mum (normally) is at 32!

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This is another wear related symptom, and often occurs on power down of an old system after a power cut. It is again to do with the input regulation circuit (the main resistor, diodes, and rectifier transistors bolted to the keypad chassis). If your Optima starts OK on battery, but not on just the mains, the cause of this is the CPU isn’t getting enough power to start up from the AC to DC rectification stage. The start sequence goes visually like this:

  1. Power is applied, the regulators get up to working voltage, and start supplying power to the CPU.
  2. The LED’s all come on, briefly, as the CPU boots up, doing its self test of itself, and the NVRAM, containing your code and exit/entry timers.
  3. Within a few milliseconds of 2 above, once the CPU has started, the LED’s go out, and the alarm now goes into a full alarm condition, leaving just the Power LED on, and any open Zone LED’s. If no zones are open, just the power LED is on.

If the LED’s all stay on with no more activity or sound, the CPU isn’t starting correctly, because the voltage to it is insufficient coming from the AC to DC rectifier stage. Allowing the alarm to start here going into full alarm, would cause too much current inrush, and voltage drop to sustain keeping itself running, due to the strobe/bell and 13v PIR’s drawing power when there isn’t enough.

The transformer puts out 16.2v AC. If the voltage at your battery charge terminals with no battery connected is less than 14v, (the last one I did was 10v) the whole system is being starved of power. The two transistors that are bolted through the keypad chassis need to be replaced, the big three-legged things top right of this picture with the holes through the tags:

Optima-XM-board-faulty-regulators

I always replace both to make sure, as they can be quite stressed out at such an old age, and be breaking down under load, as does the 47 ohm battery resistor. I also check the capacitors accompanying them. The leftmost transistor is a Toshiba TA7805S Positive Voltage Regulator which seems to be the battery regulator, I’ve uploaded the datasheet to Tidelog HERE. The second (rightmost) transistor is an ST Microelectronics LT8I5CV, for which I cannot find a datasheet, and I assume is the AC rectifier stage’s main DC regulator.

I am attempting to find suitable modern equivalents for these regulators, so if any electronics guys out there can help, I’d be most grateful, as finding info on these 15+ year old components is tricky! I’m running out of working ones to cannibalize off old unrepairable Optima boards! A good alternative to the Toshiba TA7805S is the Panasonic AN7805F, the datasheet is on TideLog, HERE, for you to take a peek at, if you understand electronics 🙂

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Kana and Mika both want the three of us to be together when we’re out jet-skiing, so Mika and me have decided to band together to get her a new 3 seater ski to go with Sadie, her yellow 2009 2 seater one, as a Christmas surprise this year. I’ve sold off shares in companies which I no longer need, and Mika used some of her life savings. We all like Sadie, so don’t want to sell her or trade her in.

We’ve found a dealer in Porthmadog, Wales, offering a gorgeous 2015 GTX 300 that had only been used for 3 hours, then returned, for financial reasons. A jet-ski is like a car, as soon as a new one is used, it loses quite a bit of value, so we got this one for the super reasonable price of £9,000 instead of the usual £16,000. Mika and me went up to Wales one day last week when Kana was working, to check the new one out, and she’s a beauty:

Kana's-new-2015-SeaDoo-GTX-300-three-seater-jet-ski-at-the-dealerNeedless to say, we bought her the same day! Her spec list is as impressive as her looks:

Engine: 1.6 litre Rotax 4-Tec 1630 ACE 3 cylinder 300HP supercharged

Primary Color: Black & Deep Pewter Satin with gold seats/front stowage compartment trim

Year: 2016

Make: Sea-Doo

Model: GTX Limited 300

Type: Three Seater

Class: Personal Watercraft (PWC)

Length: 11′ 6″ (11ft 6in, a lot longer than Sadie!)

Weight: 412kg unladen

Features: Electronic iBR reverse system (allows quicker stopping, and dock manoeuvering), iControl Learning Key (A special programmable lanyard starter key that allows engine HP to be limited to teach learners to drive it, like Mika for example), Touring/Sport modes, safety kit, 3 position ski pylon for towed water-ski rider.

We took her on the water for a test run, she looks really mean against dark grey UK clouds, and she actually looks bigger and longer out on the water than she did at the dealership:

Kana's-new-2015-SeaDoo-GTX-300-three-seater-jet-ski-on-the-water

It was Mika’s first go as a jet-ski driver (and her first time in a wetsuit, which she was so cute in!), so I used the learning key to limit the horsepower, she absolutely had a blast, especially when I drove and opened the throttle a lot! I REALLY need to get a waterproof camera to take on-water shots of us! She’s so powerful, 300HP is quite a lot. The GTX 300 is a top end sports ski, if you’ve ever wanted to ride the water equivalent of a Kawasaki Ninja motorbike, the GTX is your girl, but fear not, she won’t bite your head off. Throttle response is gentle, yet rapid if you want it to be, just make sure you tell your passengers to hold on if you’re going to be a boy/girl water-racer, opening the throttle up!

The handlebars are adjustable for different riders, and the electronically assisted steering makes jet-skiing really addictive. I have Kana to thank for introducing me to this very addictive hobby, anyone thinking of doing it, go for it, get your wetsuit on and go get wet ‘n’ wild! But remember, it’s a dangerous sport, always adhere to rules, and speed limits, using common sense you’ll be fine.

Kana is going to LOVE her new present! I just wish we lived closer to water rather than having to drive out so far! It’s worth it for a day out, just make sure you carry enough octane fuel!

 

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Hoover washer dryers used to be synonymous with quality and could go 10 years plus without issues, but now they just seem to be dropping dead left right and centre when really young. In the space of one day today I’ve both had a Hoover engineer come out to my parent’s machine, for a motor replacement under Hoover warranty, and later that day I myself was called out to fix another Hoover washer dryer, both the same model, different faults.

WDYN856DG

The patient was a 2 year old WDYN856 DG washer/dryer, with no signs of life, except clicking noises, following a loud bang during a dry cycle. Clicking relays are usually always main control unit failure, so myself and Martin, my repair assistant, got to work. There was no other life from the programme selector dial, LED segment display unit, buttons, or their LED’s, apart from the clicking. We pulled the control unit out, it looked fine from within its casing, but once unclipped from it, we saw the catastrophic damage:

Hoover-WDYN856DG-control-unit-PCB-in-shieldHoover-WDYN856DG-control-unit-PCB

Can you guess where the actual brain of that massive washing machine is? Nope, none of the big components! That tiny chip that I’ve circled in red is the computer of the machine, smaller than a two-pence piece! The rest of the board is just power regulation, the control relays, and the outputs for the motor and element, plus all the connectors for sensors. The two small plugs on the very right-middle are the programming headers for programming the EEPROM. You can see the giant ferrite inductor coil, and those big heatsinks? That’s the transistor & Triac that control the motor speed, they act as an inverter and tacho control. The higher the switching frequency of those transistors, the faster the motor spins. They get mad hot, and very stressed, especially the massive transistor to the right of the coil.

Unfortunately, as you can see from the picture, around where the microcontroller is, that is where the failure has occurred. The area is all burnt, and has catastrophically shorted. The yellow highlight on the left is also where some damage to a diode, resistor and capacitor has occurred. The damage is actually worse than it looks in the picture.

We had to replace the motor, and the front-end option selection button unit as they were unresponsive even with a new control unit. We can’t be sure of the exact cause, but we suspect the motor has shorted, and as it’s directly wired to the transistors, has caused a massive short circuit, taking out the control unit and the option selection button unit (which itself had microcontrollers on it, but these were visually undamaged).

Unfortunately you can’t just buy a new control unit and connect it up, the EEPROM needs to be programmed with machine specific code, the machine will just flash an EEPROM communication error otherwise. We had the Hoover engineer programmer, so were OK 😉

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Cats are cute, aren’t they? Fluffy, affectionate, and the cutest face on earth! They also like to bring you *nice* surprises on the morning after the night before! Mice, birds, slugs, spiders and the occasional headless dormouse.

Our cat, though, is slightly different. The other day she turned up at the doorstep with not a mouse, or a rat, no, not even a slug or spider clinging to her fur. She was sat up, meowing, with Superwoman’s cape in front of her! She likes to chase superheroines. We call her Catwoman, and she has a nice shiny coat, not of fur, but leather, and some rather cute ears:

Catwoman-with-Superwoman's-cape

We can’t get her to tell us where the rest of Superwoman is though, although her cape isn’t damaged so we suspect she got away lightly, but can’t fly, so we’ll have to get Cat to keep prowling at night, with her KryptoCollar on. Meeeeooowww 🙂

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You’ve all seen them, the bulbs that are supposed to help the environment, with swirly tubes, short and fat, long and thin. Their efficiency comes from the fact that, unlike filament bulbs, the tubes don’t draw their current direct from the mains, instead they use a kind of inverter, known as a “ballast”, very similar to the ones used in laptops for backlights. Except these run on high voltage inputs, unlike a laptop inverter which will run off 9 to 15v DC and provide 1000v AC ignition voltage, with 300 to 800v run voltage depending on brightness setting.

Unlike a laptop, though, fluorescent lamps aren’t variable brightness. The ballast puts very little load on the AC input, instead it itself provides the current to drive the tubes, like a middleman.

Benefits

Compact fluorescent lamps have some benefits in comparison with standard filament light bulbs:

1. Lower power consumption (as much as 80%) and

2. Much longer life expectancy when used in the correct environment with airflow (5 to 15 times)

Disadvantages:

1. Longer warm up times (mainly only experienced with cheaper bulbs)

2. Cannot be run off a dimmer switch.

3. Cheaper bulbs tend to be failure prone under heavier use more than 3 hours per day, or if not provided with adequate cooling around it.

4. More expensive per bulb than a filament one, but cost savings are made over its life to offset initial cost.

5. Depending on the colour temperature of the bulb, lower colour temps are not suitable for use as backlighting when using a camera.

Available colour temperatures

Fluorescent lamps are available usually in these color temperatures:

  • Warm white (2700K)
  • Cool white (4000K)
  • Daylight (6000K)

The most common colour temperature is “warm white”, which is close in brightness to a classic 60W filament bulb and also is most pleasant to people, but cannot be used as ambient light for use with a camera.

Principle of construction and operation

Compact fluorescent lamps use a vacuum tube similar to classic strip lamp, the principle of energy transformation to visible light is the same. On either end of the tube are two electrodes coated with Barium, the tube is filled with Argon and Mercury. The cathode runs at high temperature (about 900 degrees Celsius) and generates many electrons which are accelerated by voltage, bouncing between electrodes, hitting the atoms of Argon and Mercury. This gives rise to low temperature plasm. The mercury energy radiates in a UV light form. The inside of the tube is coated with luminophore (phosphor), which transform UV light in to the visible light that you see.

The tube is powered by alternating current, provided by the ballast, so the electrodes (cathode and anode) switch on and off, alternating rapidly. Because of the use of a switched converter in the ballast, which runs on tens of kilohertz, the CFL lamp doesn’t flicker in comparison to a classic strip tube lamp. The converter, which is present in the screw or bayonet cap, substitutes the starter found in traditional classic strip lamps (which are wired direct to AC line), making CFL’s more efficient.

Here’s a look inside a Philips Genie 11W, for the curious electronic nerds out there 🙂

Philips Genie 11W

To help understand that little circuit board a little more, here’s its schematic diagram:

philipsgenie11w-schematic

 

Theory of Ballast operation

The lamp requires a current to preheat the filaments, a high-voltage for ignition, and a high-frequency AC current during running. To fulfill these requirements, the electronic ballast circuit first performs a low-frequency AC-to-DC conversion at the input, followed by a high-frequency DC-to-AC conversion at the output.

The AC mains voltage is full-wave rectified and then peak-charges a capacitor to produce a smooth DC bus voltage. The DC bus voltage is then converted into a high-frequency, 50% duty-cycle, AC square-wave voltage using a standard half-bridge switching circuit. The high-frequency AC square-wave voltage then drives the resonant tank circuit and becomes filtered to produce a sinusoidal current and voltage at the lamp.

During pre-ignition, the resonant tank is a series-LC circuit with a high Q-factor. After ignition and during running, the tank is a series-L, parallel-RC circuit, with a Q-factor somewhere between a high and low value, depending on the lamp dimming level.

When the CFL is first turned on, the control IC sweeps the half-bridge frequency from the maximum frequency down towards the resonance frequency of the high-Q ballast output stage. The lamp filaments are preheated as the frequency decreases and the lamp voltage and load current increase. The frequency keeps decreasing until the lamp voltage exceeds the lamp ignition voltage threshold (up to 400v) and the lamp ignites. Once the lamp ignites, the voltage drops and the lamp current is controlled such that the lamp runs at the desired power and brightness level.

Failures

Common failures are faulty output capacitors, a major fault in cheaper bulbs, where cheaper components are used. When the tube doesn’t light up on time, or fully, there is a risk of destroying the transistors and their resistors. Lamp startup is very stressful on the ballast circuit, transistors usually don’t survive overloading at high temperatures, taking out the transistors fed by them. When the tube fails, the electronics are usually destroyed too. When the tube is old, the filaments become worn, causing high resistance to the circuit and either tube doesn’t lights up anymore. Normally in this case the electronics usually survive because the ballast will shut down if there is a loss of load caused by death of the tube. Sometimes the tube can be wrecked due to internal tension and temperature difference. Most frequently a stressed tube fails, when powered on, making it look like the whole lamp has failed.

Failure of the whole lamp at its worst is normally limited to a little bit of smoke, and/or a bad smell, and a small pinging noise. They are not allowed to “POP!” or cause direct shorts on the AC line, the input fuse on the ballast will prevent that.

Repair of electronics

Repair of the electronics usually means change of capacitors. When the fuse has popped, this signifies possible damaged transistors and resistors. Failures can be multiplied. For example, when there is shorted capacitors there can be thermally overloaded transistors that will be destroyed. The best transistors for replacing of original types are MJE13003, but they are not easy to find recently. I replaced them with BD129, but they are not available now. There exists other variants like 2SC2611, 2SC2482, BD128, BD127, but I am not sure if they will be long-life.

Mechanical construction

A fluorescent lamp is usually comprised of two parts. One is the plastic cover with holes for the tube and vents, and the plastic clips to attach to the bottom section. The tube is glued in using high temperature epoxy or cement glue. The bottom section has slots for the clips from the inner side. Inside is the printed circuit board with components and wires from the tube. From the upper side of the PCB are wires to top of the lamps, which are soldered or stamped to the contacts on the PCB, normally metal posts. Both plastic parts are clicked together and sometimes glued. Usually you can carefully leverage the casing with a small screwdriver sequentially to release the glue. Next you must leverage more to open the lamp. To close the lamp housing after repair you can only click both plastic pieces together.

Sometimes opening these lamps up is harder than the repair as the housing often gets damaged, lamps that have been heated and cooled regularly tends to lead to the plastic becoming brittle and hard to separate!

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It’s hard work being a superhero, even a pretend one, as Melissa will tell you! I found some more pics of her, this time in action on set, and I can kind of relate to her as an actress. Every time I’ve been to ComicCon I’ve had to do action role play for numerous children at the events, running around in a sweaty bodysuit, trunks, boots and REALLY heavy pleather cape pretending to capture baddies is EXHAUSTING but great fun, especially the time I wrestled the ultimate X-Men goddess Rogue in the sweltering San Diego heat, she really pushed me!

Except Mel probably has to do the same scene over and over again, following several cries of “CUT!” and her cape looks just as heavy as my Superman Returns one, and probably just as expensive!

Melissa-Benoist-SuperMel-on-setShe looks pure Super in the daylight, and shattered! That look says, “Phew, another rescued victim safe with the paramedics!” Let’s just hope not all of them need medical attention! It’s probably her fault they needed an ambulance, she’s just too smokingly beautiful. If only she was REALLY Supergirl….

Melissa-Benoist-Supergirl-4

SuperMel, please rescue me! I wouldn’t mind a kiss of life from you, but have a rest first hun, you look puffed out 🙂 If any of my readers say they don’t want her to fly them home, I’ll eat the lot of you! 🙂

 

 

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The release of Project CARS was huge, but there are a few niggling issues with it. As it uses a much improved version of the Madness engine found in Need For Speed SHIFT 1 & 2, the experience is massively improved, but as the game was mainly designed with wheel and pedal touting PC users, the controls on the console versions can seem a little touchy. Here’s some settings to help you get the most out of it:

At your driver dashboard, press your menu button (the one with the three lines), go to Options and Help in the menu that appears, then controls, and tab across to the configuration page. You’ll see lots of possibly scary looking sliders depending on your skill level! Don’t worry, use this guide to help:

Method 1:

Throttle Deadzone: 0%

Throttle Sensitivity: 30%

Brake Deadzone: 10%

Brake Sensitivity: 15%

Controller Filtering Sensitivity: 50% (you should try different values to see what you like best). A higher value means smoother (less twitchy) steering but it can cause input lag.

Steering Deadzone: 5-10% (it depends on how worn your left stick is, 5% seems fine to me, but experiment as your car may pull depending on stick wear)

Steering Sensitivity: 0

Speed Sensitivity: 60-65% (this setting allows for small corrections, it basically makes the wheel less sensitive, especially on the straights)

These settings should make the game much more playable, and the steering less twitchy. You may need to further adjust it for different types of cars, but have a play, you can’t break anything as there’s a “reset to defaults” option on the controller settings page 🙂 If that still doesn’t feel right, see below:

Method 2:

a. Set all sliders to 0. And I mean everything, throttle, brakes the lot.

b. Turn off advanced settings.

c. Then just turn speed sensitivity up to 80.

Method 2 works out the best way for me, method 1 felt like the controller didn’t centre coming off the steering, the car continued to drift slowly in the direction I’d come off when the stick was straight. The brakes were also too bitey and the steering was still too twitchy with some cars, especially the Karts, Method 2 has made me feel in control again!

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I was even more in love with Melissa as soon as I saw this promo pic. When CBS announced they had hired her for auditions, I knew she’d be good, from her Glee days. I was dreading what they’d come up with for the costume, I had a niggling feeling they’d do something like the horrid DC 52 comic outfit. But, I saw her, and the new costume, and I just can’t get enough of her, take a look:

Melissa-Benoist-new-CBS-Supergirl-outfit-full-promo

Just one word…. WOOOW! They’ve kept the look of the 80’s outfit that Helen Slater wore, with the V skirt beltline, the cape still flows nicely over her shoulders. They’ve sexified her by giving her thigh high leather boots over the top of a pair of dark tights, then given the main outfit a sexy armoured look like the Man of Steel one. The diamond S emblem looks really nicely finished, I suspect it’s leather. I was really surprised, and turned on looking at her. The only issue I have is that the whole outfit looks too dark, it clashes with the old Superman III film where the evil one had darker colours in his outfit, so it makes SuperMel look evil. Not really complaining though 🙂

Anyhow, I still wanna be rescued by her! I just hope they do a heroine peril scene in the new film like the 80’s one where Supergirl gets lost on an evil planet, and gets trapped in a pit of kryptonite gunge after slipping into it, trying desperately to wade out of it as she gets weaker and weaker. I would hate to see that lovely costume get messy too much, but hope they have a backup, because hey, the heroines can’t always win, right?

This sexy costume was designed by three-time Oscar-winner Colleen Atwood, so I might give her a bell if we need any costumes making for KanaPhotographics, because she sure knows how to make a superheroine costume functional, sexy and alluring 🙂

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